World Cup crunch time for Denmark – The Post

World Cup crunch time for Denmark

Beating Montenegro away will be the first big step towards reaching Russia next summer

It’s all down to them (photo: DBU)
October 5th, 2017 8:00 am| by Christian W
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

Following a year of 2018 World Cup qualifiers, the final showdown has arrived.

It’s been an emotional rollercoaster for the Danish fans, who’ve had to endure early struggles and a home loss to Montenegro, before seeing their heroes claw their way back into contention with wins against Poland and Armenia last month.

Now, it all comes down to the final two games on October 5 and 8. First the Danes hope to avenge their home loss to Montenegro, before hosting Romania in the finale.

It’s all about the maths. Poland lead Group E by three points ahead of Montenegro and Denmark. Crucially, Montenegro is ahead courtesy of their head-to-head record, so anything but a win in Podgorica will be unthinkable. A Danish loss would all but end their chances, while a Montenegro loss would likely smother their hopes, particularly given that they face Poland in their finale.

Delaney dynamite
Although the Danes will be missing potent striker Nicolai Jørgensen, inspirational midfielder Thomas Delaney, who has scored four goals in the past two games – exploits that have attracted the interest of Tottenham and Everton – will be in the Danish engine room.

Should the Danes end up reaching the playoff round, the country’s massive leap from 46 to 26 in the most recent FIFA World Rankings could prove significant for Denmark regarding the seedings. The jump was largely thanks to thrashing Poland – which was ranked fifth in the world at the time.

Elsewhere, the national football association, DBU, and the women’s national football team managed to come to terms to end the conflict that was threatening to cancel the Danish 2019 World Cup qualification match against Hungary. The match went ahead following an accord being reached on pay rise issues and the Danes won 6-1.